AU: After the 74th Hunger Games, Peeta agrees to become a Capitol slave in exchange for Katniss’s life.

I twist and turn in my bed as visions flash before my eyes and slither deep into my mind, breathing poison from the deepest corners of my imagination. It’s one of those nights, where nightmares refuse to leave me alone, where one simple thought, of home, of her, too deeply rooted in my heart to ever be shaken, keeps me away from sleep. That’s how I know I’ll never let go.

It’s been a year, now. A year since I sold my soul to the devil to save her.

The Capitol is my home, and District 12 nothing more than a distant memory – at least that’s what they keep telling me. But the truth is, the more time I spend here the more disgusted I am, and I find myself wanting to smash the cultivated ignorance and the elaborately designed cruelty that animate their eyes. Every day, I’m ordered to smile and to please, to repeat all the pretty little words they taught me to recite. I’m forbidden to paint, but it’s probably for the best. At one point, the world’s horror becomes enough; you don’t need to paint it, you don’t even need to remember it. It is enough.

I haven’t talked to Katniss in over a year. I know she sent me letters, but I never got to read them. Some nights, I lay awake, trying to remember everything I can about her, her smell, the color of her eyes, the way she felt in my arms. And when I fail to recollect the memories, I simply imagine what her life might be like back home. And sometimes, I find myself wondering if she ever thinks of me. If she ever catches glimpses of me on TV. If she ever searches for them. I’d like to tell her, I’d like her very much to know, that I may walk among them, but I’m not one of them. They can keep me here, they can dress me the way they want and dye my hair the color they desire, they can sell my body to the highest bidder, but I’ll never be a piece in their games.

‘We have a deal you and I, remember?’ President Snow’s voice echoes in my head, and in the fragile moonlight, I make a solemn promise. Oh, not aloud. There is no wind to hear, carry and bear words so heavy with hate. But in my silent own lone way, I swear. I will kill you.